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Operational Efficiency Month

Software expands to four more factories

By Rachel Arthur+

12-Feb-2014
Last updated the 12-Feb-2014 at 12:35 GMT

Systems Integration (SI) will roll out its redeveloped production planning software across five Vantage Foods sites in the US and Canada this year, giving the meat processor live pictures of its orders.

The production planning software from SI’s Integreater range is currently in use at the Camp Hill site in Pennsylvania. The site is the largest case ready meat plant in North America, which supplies US retailer Ahold.

Robert Stephens, MD, SI, told FoodProductionDaily.com the company spent two years developing the software. It can deal with high product volumes and slashes time spent on food production planning, for food manufacturers who have orders with a short lead time for fresh perishable products.

Flexibility

There was nothing on the market that allowed people to change levels throughout the day at a minute's notice and see immediately what effect it will have, and get live feedback from the lines,” said Stephens.

Most systems work on a day or half a day and are very rigid. There’s no instant information and flexibility.

Integreater’s production planning software can build and update a live plan in seconds, added Stephens.

The plant might be getting orders at 10am and the first vehicle might leave at 12noon. They could spend an hour trying to work out what an order means from spreadsheets. With our system, the minute the order comes in, they know what to do,” he added.

'Absolute necessity'

Camp Hill receives hundreds of orders and processes thousands of items each day. The software contains information on forecast, pre and final orders; data on stores; and allows operators to make changes, add orders and move products.

The bigger the business, the more complicated it becomes,” Stephens said. “Because it’s so big, the software is an absolute necessity for this plant.

Much of the data is entered automatically, and some manually. “Most systems fall down if inputs and outputs are not managed properly. We make it easier for people to do the job properly than not do it properly,” Stephens added.

Kerri Castillo, scheduler, Vantage, said the software calculates and displays knock-on effects straight away.

Integreater automatically calculates everything we need to fufil orders while using raw materials and labour in the most efficient manner,” said Castillo.

Production line supervisors and crew also have a live, real-time view of the plan through screens on the factory floor. They can see their progress and are immediately alerted to any changes, additions or bottlenecks.